tv First Look MSNBC September 3, 2014 2:00am-2:31am PDT
your leadership and support to estonia. to begin with, i also want to say that we are apalled by the latest news from iraq. we today is security. the question on everyone's mind is the situation in ukraine and its wider impact on european security. i just did hear that president putin have agreed on a cease fire. i just hope it works. but in the general situation, we need to be clear and consistent in the language used to describe the situation in ukraine.
as the e.u. underlined last weekend, this is russian aggression. the e.u. and the united states are ready to take further restrictive measures in response to russia's behavior. russia must admit that it is a party to the conflict and take genuine steps that will lead to a deescalation of the conflict. we must also continue to support ukraine by providing the country with the assistance that it needs. when it comes to the security of our region, the united states' engagement here runs deep. estonia is a close and reliable ally to the united states. we take our nato commitment seriously, very seriously. we have not sat back and waited for others to take care of our security. since joining the alliance, estonia soldiers have consist t
consistently defended the freedom of others in afghanistan, iraq, and the central ike. we are grateful for the united states for sending troops here. your presence underlies the credibility of article 5. without a doubt, your bilateral contributions helped set the example for other nato allies, a robust and visible ally presence here in estonia is the best way of discouraging any possible aggressors. we look forward to the nato summit tomorrow cop firming this. we face a completely new security situation in europe, and we are pleased that this is reflected in many of the summits
documents. we expect the nato summit and ready to adopt the action plan to guide allied nations for years to come through a set of practical steps of reassurance and deterrence. in addition to the close defense operation, i'm pleased our bilateral relations are strong and in many, many other areas including cyber and surgery security. globally, we are working together to promote common values, democracy, human right, and the rule of law. estonia's a world leader in global freedom and e-gov nans. we have many exciting opportunities for increased trade, cooperation, and investment, and this is also one reason why we believe that t-tip is crucial effort on the part of both the european union and the
united states. let me once again welcome president obama to estonia, to northern europe, one of europe's most prose prowess and successful regions. our countries share common values and interests, and i'm certain that to the we can and will contribute to the vision of a europe whole, free, and at peace. thank you. >> well, president ilves, i want to thank you and people of estonia for welcoming me here today. it is a great honor to be in estonia, especially as we mark our 10th anniversary as nato allies. mr. president, thank you for being such an outstanding partner. i was proud to welcome you to the white house last year, since spoken on the situation of ukrai ukraine. your story reflects the story of
the nation, son of refugees who charted a path for a free and democratic estonia. as many of you know, that long journey also took tomas and his family to america, to new jersey, where he's still remembered as tom, and wonderful to meet your daughter today and found out she went back to new jersey as well. she says that he knew bruce springsteen before he had his first record, so you embody the deep ties between americans and es tonians, and i thank you for your friendship. i come here today because estonia is one of the great success stories among the nations that reclaimed independence after the cold war. you built a vibrant democracy and new prosperity. you've become a model how citizens can interact with their government in the 2 1st century, something president ilves championed. you can use your smart phone to
get anything done online from the children's grades to their health records. i should have called you when we were setting up our health care website. most of all, i'm here because estonia is a model ally. the forces served with courage and skill in iraq and afghanistan, and we hop nor our service members who made the ultimate sacrifice in afghanistan including nine brave estonians. as nato nears end of the combat mission in three months, i want to thank estonia for the commitments made to help sustain afghan security forces going forward. as a high-tech leader, estonia plays a leading role in protecting nato from cyber threats. estonia contributing its full share, its full 2% of gdp, to the defense of our alliance. in other words, estonia meets its responsibilities, and as we
head into the nato summit in wales, estonia's an example of how every nato member needs to do its fair share for our collective defense. i have come here first and foremost to reconfirm the united states' commitment to estonia. we have article 5 duties to our collective defense, a commitment that's unbreakable, unwaivering, eternal, and es totonia will ne stand alone. as president, i have made sure we are fulfilling that promise. i urged to update the planning for the defense of the region and additional nato forces rotated through estonia for more training and exercises. in response to russia's actions in ukraine earlier this year, the united states increased our presence further. we've contributed additional
aircraft to the baltic air policing mission, a mission to which 14 other nato allies contributed over the past decade, and we're now continuously rotating personal aircraft through the baltics. i look forward to joining prime minister in thanking our service members today. this spring, i announced a new initiative to bolster the american military presence here in europe including in the baltics, and we're working with congress to make sure that we deliver. today, i can announce that this initiative will include additional air force units, aircraft for training exercises here in the baltic region and agree an ideal location to host and support these exercises would be amari air base here in estonia. with the support of congress and our estonia friends, i'm confident we can make this
happen and look forward to discussing this further when we meet with the presidents this afternoon. as indicated, we spend a great deal of times of russia's aggression against ukraine. there's more to say about this in my speech today, but i commend estonia and president ilves for being a strong voice on behalf of nato and the e.u. for his people. they work to strengthen democratic institutions and reform the economy and because we stood together, russia is paying a heavy price for its actions, and nato is poised to do more to help ukraine strengthen its forces and defend their country. more broadly, i want to commend estonia for being a strong leader beyond nato whether it's in the central republic or
relief efforts for syria people, helping tunisia in the transition to democracy or standing up for internet freedom and human rights, this nation of 1.3 million people really punches above its weight. the world's better for it. it's yet another reason why the united states will always be proud to stand with our ally, estonia. finally, i want to say that today the prayers the american people are with the family of the devoted and courageous journalist. overnight, our government determined tragically stephen was taken from us in a horrific state of violence. we can want begin to imagine the agony that everyone who loves stephen is feeling now, especially his mother, father, and younger sister. today our country grieves with
them. like jim foley before him, his life stood in sharp contrast to those who murder him so brutally. they make the absurd claim they kill in the name of religion, but it was he who deeply loved the islamic world. his killers try to claim they defend the oppressed, but he traveled to the middle east to tell the story of muslim men and women demanding justice and dignity. whatever the murders think they will accomplish by killing innocent, they already failed. they failed because people around the world like americans are repulsed by their barbarianism. we will not be intimidated and only stooich us to take the
fight. we will not forget and that our reach is long and justice will be served. mr. president? >> well, we can open things up for questions. i understand, too, from estonia journalists and president obama's entourage, as the host, i'll give the first opportunity to one of our tough questioners. >> yes, thank you. public broadcasting, i have the same question to both presidents. the partnership between russia and nato is not the same as we all know. why to keep it alive, an agreement signed in 1997 between russia and nato? perhaps it purrs or gives new opportunities to our region's security in estonia, latvia, and
slo vain ya? >> from our side, nato decided to freeze relations with russia several months ago, but on the issue of what are the implications of the nato-russia founding act, i suggest although we can't do anything because of the nato-russia founding act, read the nato-russia founding act which says these conditions hold to, quote, in the current and foreseeable future or the security environment of the current and foreseeable future. that was the security environment of 1997 when yeltzin was president and there had been no violations of either the u.n. charter, the 1975 helsinki act, paris charter. i argue this is an unforeseen
and new security environment, and therefore, one has to hold on to certain provisions. it does not mean we have to give up the whole act, but certainly when an agreement in certain parts can no longer hold, well, then, it's time to make a change. i mean, the nato-russia founding act has been violated by russia. we continue to support the vision of that document, but its substance has changed dramatically, and i'm confident that all of nato's actions are and will be conducted in accordance with its international commitment as an allian alliance. >> the circumstances clearly have change, and i think this will be a topic of discussion in
wales. beyond the issue of that particular document, our top priority has been to make sure that there's no ambiguity when it comes to our article 5 commitments to our nato allies, and as a consequence of the rotations that have been increased, the presence of u.s. troops in the course of those rotations and additional nato allies, what we want to sen a clear message to everyone is that we take those commitments seriously. i think what's going to be clear during the course of this summit is that given the changed landscape, not only do we have to make sure that these rotations are effective and design towards current threats, but more broadly, nato has to look at its defense capabilities as a whole and make sure that
they are update and properly resourced. you know, for, i think, for a certain period of time there was a complacency here in europe about the demands that were required to make sure that nato was ail to function effectively. my former secretary of defense, i think, came here and gave fairly sharp speeched repeatedly about the need for making certain that every nato member was doing its fair share. i think secretary general rasmussen talked about updating our joibt capability, and, you know, obviously, what happened in ukraine is tragic, but i think it gives us the opportunity to look with fresh eyes and understand what it is that is necessary to make sure that our nato commitments are
met, and that's one of the reasons i'm here in us toestoni today. i'm going to call on ann compton on her farewell tour. >> thank you very much, mr. president. now that you say a second american has been slain, what is your response? will air attacks continue in iraq? will they expand into syria? do you have a full strategy on isis to satisfy those like prime minister cameron who call it an imminent threat to all interests and satisfy those like senator feinstein that on this you were too cautious? thank you. >> well, keep in mind from the outset that the moment that isis went in, we were clear this was a very serious threat, not just to iraq, but to the region and to u.s. interests, and so we have been putting forward a
strategy since that time that was designed to do a number of things. number one, to make sure that americans were protected in iraq, in our embassies, in our consulates. number two, that we worked with iraqis to create a functioning government that was inclusive and could receiver as the basis for iraq to begin to go on the offensive, and the air strikes that we've conducted in support of protecting americans, conducting humanitarian missions and providing spice for the iraqi government to form have born fruit. we've seen that in most recently in the town of emeril that held out against a siege by isil. we see progress in the formation of the incollusive sunni-kurd
government. we've seen the strategy we've laid out moving effectively. what i said from the start is this is not going to be a one week, one month or six-month proposition. because of what's happened in the vacuum of syria as well as the battle hardened elements of isis that grew out of al qaeda and iraq in the course of the iraq war, it's going to take time for us to be able to roll them back, and it is going to take time for us to be able to form the regional coalition that's going to be required so that we can reach out to sunni tribes in the areas that isis occu occupied, and make sure we have allies on the ground in combination with the air strikes that we've already conducted. the bottom line is this. our objective is clear.
that is to degrade and destroy isil so it's no longer a threat to iraq and the region and to the united states. in order for us to accomplish that, the first phase has been to make sure we've got an iraqi government in place and that we are blueprinting the momentum that isil was carrying out, and the air strikes have done that, but now what we need to do is make sure that we've got the regional strategy in place that can support an ongoing effort, not just in the air, but on the ground to move that forward, and last week when this question was asked, i was specifically referring to the possibility of the military strategieded y ins syria that might require congressional approval. it is very important from my
perspective that when we send our pilots in to do a job that we know that this is a mission that's going to work, that we're very clear on what our objectives are, what our targets are, made the case to congress and made the case to the american people, and we got allies behind us so that it's not just a one-opt, but it's something that overtime will be effective. so bottom line is this, ann. it's not only that we're going to be bringing to justice those who perpetrate this terrible crime against these two find young men. more broadly, the united states will continue to lead a regional and international effort against the kind of barbaric and ultimately empty vision that isil represents, and that's
going to take some time, but we're going to get it done. i'm very confident of it. >> did you just say the strategy is to destroy isis or to contain them or push them back? >> our objective is to make sure that isil is not an on going threat to the region. we can accomplish that. it's going to take some time. it's going to take some effort. as we've seen with al qaeda, there's always going to be rem na remnants that can cause havoc in the networks because of the terrorist activities. you get a few individuals who may be able to carry out a terrorist act, but what we can do is make sure the systemic and broad based aggression that we've seen out of isil that
terrorizes primarily muslims, sho shia, sunni, kurds, not just iraqis, but people throughout the region, that that is degraded to the point where it is no longer the kind of factor we've seen it being over the last several months. >> my question is for about presidents. ukraine is facing a difficult time and the situation on the ground may be more complicated in the runup to the parliament elections in object. what more could be done and should be done to support ukraine politically, economically, and from a
security point of view? what do you think of the idea of providing ukrainian forces with weapons to counter russian's attack in the eastern part of the country more effectively? thank you. >> well, most importantly, ukraine needs, above all, continued political support. from that support involves everything else from economic aid, humanitarian aid, and military aid, and from that comes decisions on equipment. from there, nato will gather and decide how to increase nato cooperation with ukraine. this is the kind of decision that we in nato take together.
on the humanitarian side, we doubled our humanitarian and developed assistance and looking for what more we can do. we have already brought wounded, seriously wounded ukrainian soldiers to our topnotch rebi rehabilitation center here, and we'll continue to do so. that is one thing that ukrainians lack that and have it at a superbly high level went with the assistance of the united states and walter reid hospital. the next couple months leading up to the parliamentary elections will be very tricky. russia, i predict, will do everything in its power to undermine the elections.
we've seep this already in the case of the presidential elections. it will try to destabilize the government in kiev and keep ukrainian forces from gaining ground in the east. we should be prepared for a tough several or month, month and a half. the next government, of course, that will be then -- will have the full legitimacy, comes with a new parliamentary elections must show that it is a clear and better alternative to the one that the people of ukraine ousted half a year ago, an i also see that making sure, ensuring that the elections are carried out in a free and fair manner will be a topmost priority for us, for the osce,
th that, and i think one of the issues should be, in fact, the kind of interference seen in the presidential elections that not be allowed or be fully, fully addressed and recognized by the monitoring elections. i think that we all, after, especially the presidential elections, we all know what the russians and russian forces can do to disrupt the democratic process. i think we should be far better prepared to document all of that when we get to the elections. >> political sport is absolutely vital, and one of our goals at the summit over the next several days is to once again project unity across nato on behalf of e ukraine's efforts to maintain its sovereignty and territorial
integrity. the sanctions implied so far had a real effect on russia, and i think it's important for us to continue to impose costs on russia so long as it is violating basic principles of international law, and so far at least we've. able to combine efforts between europe and the united states and others around the world, and the results are a rush economy that is effectively contracting, capital flight, putting a burden on the russian economy that at the moment may be overridden by politics inside russia as a consequence of the state-run propaganda, but overtime, it will point to the fact that this is a strategy that's not serving russia well in addition to not serving ukraine, obviously, well. beyond that, the ukrainian
economy is something that we have. paying a lot of attention to. we helped work with the imf to ensure that ukraine had the resources to get through some of the emergency financing issues that they had to deal with, but we'll have more work to do. the military efforts that have. require to deal with russian-financed, russian-arm, russian-trained, russian-trained and directed separatists has meant that as meant a drain on the ukrainian economy, not to mention the fact that you have major industrial areas inside ukraine that, obviously, are impacted by the conflict there so we're going to have to make sure that the international community stands behind the ukrainian economy in the short term even as we encourage and advise and work with ukraine to
carry out some of the basic reforms that are going to be required in order for them to achieve the kinds of models of success we've seen in estonia, poland, and other places. that's a tough road to hold. it took a couple decades for some of the countries who are currently in the e.u. to achieve the sort of market-based reforms that have led to such great prosperity. ukrai ukraine's not able to do that overnight, but we have to help in making sure we build a bridge to that new future. if we combine those efforts with a commitment to continuing the nato-ukraine military relationship, they are not a member of nato, but we have consistently worked with their military in terms of training and